Vamsadhara tribunal tells Andhra, Odisha to identify 106 acres for Neradi barrage

The AP government had proposed to take up the Vamsadhara project in two stages.
Vamsadhara River Water. (File Photo |EPS)
Vamsadhara River Water. (File Photo |EPS)

VIJAYAWADA:  The Vamsadhara Water Dispute Tribunal on Monday directed that its order issued on April 5, asking the officials of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha to carry out a joint survey for identifying 106 acres of land in Odisha for the construction of Neradi barrage across the river under the supervision of Central Water Commission, be implemented. Officials of both the States were asked to commence the survey by the end of monsoon, and complete it in six weeks and the proceeding was listed for further directions to January 10, 2020. 

Vamsadhara, which originates in Kalahandi district of Odisha, flows 154 km in Odisha and then flows another 29 km along the common boundary between Odisha and AP and another 82 km in AP before joining the sea. On September 30, 1962, it was agreed by both the States to share the available yield of 115 TMC of water assessed up to Gotta in the Vamsadhara river basin on a 50:50 basis. As per the assessment of CWC in 2007, the yield of Vamsadhara is 105 TMC of water. 

The AP government had proposed to take up the Vamsadhara project in two stages. Stage I consisting of Gotta barrage and the Left Main Canal (LMC) to irrigate an ayacut of 1.48 lakh acres by utilising 17.841 TMC of the river water. The works were completed. Under stage II, it was proposed to irrigate 1.07 lakh acres with 16.048 TMC of water by constructing Neradi barrage. However, due to a delay in obtaining 106 acres of land from the Odisha government for the construction of the barrage, the AP government took up Vamsadhara Stage II in two phases. 

The first phase comprises the construction of the Right Main Canal (RMC) from Gotta barrage to irrigate 0.62 lakh acres. The works are almost completed. The second phase comprises construction of Neradi barrage, flood flow canal and Hiramandalam reservoir to irrigate 45,000 acres and stabilise ayacut under the LMC and RMC of Gotta barrage.

Though Odisha had agreed in principle for the construction of Neradi barrage, it had objected to giving concurrence for the project execution on the ground of possibility of the excess land acquisition over and above the mutually agreed extent of 106 acres and backwater effect due to the barrage, in the wake of floods in 1980. 

To derive the early benefits of river water, which otherwise goes waste into the sea and also in view of the abnormal delay in obtaining the concurrence of Odisha government, the AP government had proposed to construct a side weir and flood flow canal at Katragadda village in Srikakulam district about 2 km upstream of the proposed Neradi barrage as a temporary structure to divert floodwater into Hiramandalam reservoir. 

At the same time, the AP government filed a complaint on July 28, 2009, with the Union Ministry of Water Resources requesting for the constitution of a tribunal and refer its complaint on Neradi barrage and side weir for adjudication. On February 24, 2010, the Vamsadhara Water Dispute Tribunal (VWDT) was constituted. 

On September 13, 2017, the VWDT issued an order permitting AP to construct the side weir and Neradi barrage under Section 5(2) of the ISRWD Act, 1956.  Subsequently, the side weir and flood flow canal were constructed as a temporary measure. 

On April 5, the VWDT directed to conduct a joint survey by the officials of AP and Odisha under the supervision of CWC for identifying 106 acres of land in Odisha. Following it, the Odisha government appealed to the tribunal to modify the order. The AP government objected to it and the Odisha government filed a rejoinder. The VWDT pronounced its verdict on Monday reiterating its earlier order of the joint survey. 

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